Sawadeeka from Bangkok!
Today marks the halfway point of our Asian excursion. It’s hard to believe that we will be coming home in only a few short days. As evidenced by the previous posts from our classmates, our trip has only been getting better and better every day. From our first steps in Hong Kong to our gambling extravaganza in Macau to our elephant adventures in Thailand, its obvious that our trip has been one of a kind. Within our experience, we have found that each day has something special to offer.
Today, we were grateful for our all-encompassing day, which consisted of a balance between relaxing and learning. After a group night out on the town last night, we were more than excited to wake up to a ringing phone at 9 am as opposed to 7 am. Needless to say, a few of us needed those extra hours of sleep (especially since today marks the aftermath of Todd’s 21st birthday). After waking up from a full nights rest, we optimistically headed down to the second floor to meet our classmates for breakfast. After re-energizing with a refreshing meal we all proceeded to the bus to embark on another cultural journey. In spirit of our cultural excursion, a few of us decided to embrace the local culture, by adorning ourselves in simple Thai dress. You will see in the pictures a range of elephant pants, tribal shirts, and cowboy hats, which the majority of students found to be practical and comfortable for cultural spirit and 90 degree weather.
Feeling energized, we endured a 20 minutes bus ride to a local dock to load a boat tour that led us through Bangkok. On our tour we saw a variety of local surroundings, including the Siriaj Hospital, university campuses, alligators, fish, and typical speedboaters. The highlight of the boat ride was definitely the stop we made to see and feed the local fish, which was much to our surprise catfish.
Now that we’ve taken you through a detailed synopsis of our boat ride, which I’m sure you didn’t actually care about, we’d like to share our experience at the Temple of Dawn, a Buddhist temple on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Referred to in Thai as the “Wat Arun,” The Temple of Dawn is a well-known Bangkok landmark that is named by a late Thai king as he arrived at this safe haven at the break of dawn in the nineteenth century. After our tour guide Angela informed us of the history of this temple, we proceeded to enter the temple with big eyes and weak knees… literally. As we ambitiously explored the landmark, we saw that the climb to the top of the temple was steep enough to make anyone dizzy. The severity of the heat mixed with steep steps and dehydration made for a long and terrifying hike up. But, once we got to the top we were excited to find the view to be worth the trek.
After being the professional tourists that we are and taking pictures of the scenery, we headed down to the exit to proceed to an afternoon of lunch and shopping. Our tour guide led us to an area called MBK to start the relaxation of our day. As we both stepped inside, we were quickly overwhelmed with the absurd amount of shoppers, vendors, and disorganization. Almost as terrifying as the steep walk up the Temple of Dawn, we decided to delve into the mall madness. With only five minutes in the door we immediately decided to head “home” to the Pullman hotel for American comfort food and refreshing foot massages. Exhausted from the combination of our traveling, drinking, eating and exploring, we found that this relaxing afternoon was just what we needed.
As our day came to an end, we met back up with our classmates to head to dinner for local Thai cuisine, a short 10-minute walk from the hotel. With good food, wine, and new friends, we found this dinner to be the perfect ending to another day in Asia.
– Kim and Austin